Eight splurge-worthy gifts for fashion-obsessed loved ones
Compiled by Anush Benliyan
This year, splurge on something special for the fashionisto or fashionista in your life. From a bespoke wardrobe and Florentine experience with the world-renowned clothier Stefano Ricci to a special-edition Armin Strom timepiece, the following eight extraordinary fashion gifts are sure to impress the stylish someone you love.
John Lobb Limited Edition Hayes monk strap shoes
These limited-edition Hayes monk strap shoes from John Lobb ($US1900, or about $A2540) make the perfect gift for the shoe fanatic in your life. Although the pair’s boldly minimal design keeps the shoe planted in modernity, the focus on artisanal construction celebrates the original double-buckle monk strap style that the brand pioneered in the 1940s.
Each shoe is hand-made in England over the course of six weeks from a single piece of museum calf leather. Production of the Hayes style is limited to 1000 pairs, each of which are stamped with their unique model number and come in a special-edition box — meaning you won’t even need to wrap them up before placing them under the tree. (johnlobb.com) - Phoebe Neuman
Ombrelli Maglia umbrellas
When it comes to life’s little luxuries, one of the most useful and maybe underrated indulgences is a custom-made umbrella not only designed to suit your aesthetic taste but crafted in proportion to your height and arm length.
The fifth-generation artisans Francesco and Giorgio Maglia — brothers whose Milan shop, Ombrelli Maglia, has been producing handmade umbrellas since 1854 — offer just such bespoke creations (starting at $US300, or about $A400). Working with a stock of rare materials, the Maglias expertly shape handles and sticks in a range of woods, including maple, bamboo, and a craggy chestnut. Handles can also be covered with leather and exotic skins, and canopies come in dozens of solid colors or playful prints, such as tartan or dots.
Experience this gift — the feel of a custom grip; the lyrical pitter-patter of raindrops atop a perfectly stretched umbrella canopy — and your old throwaway model won’t see another rainy day. (ombrellimaglia.it) - Jeffrey Podolsky
Loro Piana robe
At the end of a long, hard day, a perfect way to transform into relaxation mode is with a glass of Scotch whisky and a luxurious dressing gown. The Italian lifestyle brand Loro Piana, which has stores located throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and the United States, has created the plush James robe ($US13,000, or about $A17,400) by weaving together two of the world’s most precious fibres: baby cashmere and vicuña.
It presents a dashing style that evokes images of the playwright Noël Coward and the actor Cary Grant, who were often photographed in handsome lounging robes. The example of the classic garment shown here will have the gift’s recipient looking equally as debonair, thanks to patch pockets and a distinguished shawl collar with gold braiding. Made in Italy, the robe can be customized with the monogram of the wearer, who will be feeling warm and cosy, and looking effortlessly chic, all winter long. (loropiana.com) - Jeffrey Podolsky
Armin Strom Skeleton Pure Earth watch
Skeleton watches, particularly those crafted by the Bienne, Switzerland–based Armin Strom, represent a compelling combination of watchmaking’s oldest and most contemporary traditions. The company’s eponymous founder was a master at producing finely crafted and filigreed skeleton watches the old-fashioned way — that is, entirely by hand. By contrast, the firm’s new crew of engineers and designers are using the latest creative and production techniques to modernise its skeleton models, incorporating highly contemporary movement shapes and surface finishes directly beneath the hands of the watches.
For this gift, Armin Strom has created a special edition of its Skeleton Pure Earth model ($US31,900, or about $A42,600) exclusively for Robb Report readers on an on-demand basis. The watch contains the brand’s manually wound ARM09-S movement, the first mechanical watch movement designed from the ground up for skeletonization. Two fragile-looking bridges hold two winding wheels and have been specially designed to carry the load with a minimum of material.
The bridges in this special edition have been given a clean finish and a rose-gold treatment, one of several coatings applied to the movement to accentuate its depth. The black PVD-coated stainless-steel case and horn-back alligator strap seemingly disappear into the background, allowing the boldly finished movement to take centre stage. (arminstrom.com) - James D. Malcolmson
Louis Vuitton perfume trunk
In the late 1920s, Parisian trunk maker Louis Vuitton introduced the maison’s first-ever perfumes. Among the exclusive debuts was a trio of unisex scents — Je, Tu, and Il — whose bottles were designed to be stacked up in the style of steamer trunks and stored together in a cylindrical box. By 1946 the house had given its name to a total of six unique fragrances, but the formulas for the proprietary blends were tragically lost in a factory fire some years later. Since then, Louis Vuitton has remained absent from the realm of perfumery — until now.
The 162-year-old house recently launched Les Parfums Louis Vuitton, a collection of seven travel-inspired floral attars by in-house master perfumer Jacques Cavallier Belletrud. As a thoughtful nod to its heritage, the company has released a special vintage-style leather-and-canvas fragrance case ($US5450, or about $A7300) for the olfactory-obsessed voyager. Clad in the iconic quatrefoil-and-monogram motif and handcrafted at the company’s Asnières-sur-Seine atelier, the small steamer trunk holds three 100-millilitre Les Parfums bottles (which must be purchased separately, from $US240, or $A320), whose modern, minimalist design salutes the company’s future. (louisvuitton.com) - Anush Benliyan
Rivolta’s handcrafted Italian loafers
First founded in 1883, Enrico Rivolta’s namesake Milanese shoe and accessories brand Rivolta has stayed true to its roots, handcrafting each loafer, boot, and moccasin to fit the client’s foot perfectly. Fabrizio Rivolta, a direct descendent of Enrico, relaunched his family’s brand in 2007 with a compact shop that houses hundreds of handcrafted loafers for men and women on the fashionable Via della Spiga.
Rivolta creates each shoe from scratch with high-quality fabrics, such as calf leather and suede, which are both used in the versatile Aria loafers (about $US740, or $A990) shown here. To ensure comfort, the heel and sole of each Rivolta shoe is made with a lightweight frassino ash wood and backed with leather that shapes to the wearer’s heel. (eatelier.calzoleriarivolta.com) - Carolyn Meers
The Gentleman’s Florence with Stefano Ricci
Born and raised in Florence, Stefano Ricci epitomises the spirit of a true Renaissance man with his love of art, culture, craft, and, of course, fine wines and food. So it’s not surprising that when Ricci established his luxury lifestyle brand more than 40 years ago, he chose to employ local artisans and celebrate his beloved city’s heritage. He’s offering a Robb Report reader and a guest the opportunity to experience three days of his Florence (starting at $US100,000 or $A134,000).
The true essence of Florence is expressed through Stefano Ricci’s clothing, which is made with exceptional fabrics including silks woven on some of Italy’s oldest looms, fine tailoring, and styles that range from sartorial suits to weekend wear for the country gentleman.
To fully appreciate the cloth and craft behind the clothing, Ricci is inviting the recipient of this gift to meet with his master tailor, who will guide him on selecting a bespoke wardrobe that satisfies his lifestyle, from formal to casual. (The clothes will be delivered within a few months after the visit.)
After the wardrobe consultation, the guests will be taken on a private tour of the famous Galleria degli Uffizi, one of Ricci’s favorite institutions and a venue where he has held his fashion shows. The first day will end with an intimate dinner with the Riccis at the authentic Tuscan Osteria delle Tre Panche, famous for serving the best truffles in Florence, and an overnight stay at the magnificent Palazzo Tornabuoni.
On day two of their journey, the guests will be driven to the family’s hunting lodge in the Tuscan hills of Mugello, the original land of the Medici family. “My father fell in love with this valley five years ago during a hunting trip,” says Stefano’s son Filippo. Within months, the designer acquired the lodge and spent four years renovating and expanding the space to include a family villa and eight suites designed to host friends — where the guests will stay on the second evening. “It is in our family’s private moments [here],” says Filippo, “that we can fully appreciate the sense of the Tuscan countryside tradition and take inspiration for new collections.”
While at the Riccis’ Tuscan estate, guests are invited to join the family on a boar or pheasant hunt (depending on the season) and learn first-hand about Ricci’s trained royal eagles, which are the brand’s mascot. They will also have a viewing of his personal collection of antique Ferraris, showcased in a state-of-the-art garage on the estate. In the evening, the Riccis will host a final dinner to celebrate the best of Florence’s foods and wines and toast to the finer things in life.
On the third day, the recipient and guest will return to Florence for a private tour of Ricci’s Antico Setificio Fiorentino, a historic silk mill that since 1786 has woven — and continues to weave — precious materials on looms that are hundreds of years old. Airfare is not included. The three days must be mutually agreed upon by the designer and the recipient.(stefanoricci.com) - Jill Newman
Celebrate the holidays in style — in Mardi Gras style, that is — with the bright, bold sunglasses of Krewe, the New Orleans–based eyewear brand that’s reinventing the Southern aesthetic. The award-winning young label — founded just over three years ago by Stirling Barrett — offers an array of men’s, women’s, and unisex styles, each handcrafted from sheets of lightweight acetate. Every pair pays homage to New Orleans and is designed at the label’s French Quarter flagship.
Standout looks include the St. Louis ($US295, or $A395) with oyster-to-black frames, grey polarised lenses, and a brushed-metal bridge that nods to the city’s 19th-century cast-iron balconies, as well as the Lafitte ($US235, or $A315), which was inspired by its namesake French-American pirate, and features tobacco-and-Champagne-colored frames and green polarised lenses. (krewe.com) - Anush Benliyan